Safety Manual Labor Tips with a Twist of 2D Chapter 59

Chapter 59.1 Inside the cave

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Zhuang Lao listened to their conversation and focused on an important point. “What did you use to mark the line that stops mushroom growth?”

Kreel was taken aback. “We used a special material.”

“What kind of material?”

“The mushroom’s mother body.”

Intrigued, Mr. Li asked if such a thing really existed. He threw a bag of food onto the table and urged Kreel to explain.

Kreel, feeling more at ease with the presence of food, shared the source of the powder with them.

As the mushrooms multiplied rapidly, the villagers tried many methods—burning them, using poisons—but with little success. Eventually, someone discovered an extraordinary thing: a cave not far from the mushroom sea remained untouched by the fungal invasion. The mushrooms seemed to fear whatever lay inside the cave as they never crossed its boundaries.

The villagers discovered the situation and started organizing expeditions to explore the cave.

“What’s inside the cave?” Lin Zhaohe listened with interest, wagging his tail curiously.

Despite not understanding the dog’s barking, Kreel provided an answer, “Inside the cave, there’s a massive mushroom. If you cut a part of it with a knife and remove the outer skin, you’ll obtain a white bone.

“The powder made from this bone is useful. Sprinkle it around, and other mushrooms won’t come near. That’s how we protected our village.” He spoke lightly, but his expression carried a tinge of bitterness, indicating the high price they had paid.

“Why did people from the other village attack you?” Lin Yan couldn’t grasp the situation. Shouldn’t everyone be helping each other in such harsh times? Why would the other village not only refuse assistance but also worsen the situation?

“Our two villages already held a grudge against each other,” Kreel revealed. “Adventurers used to favor our village, causing animosity between us. Then, the mushrooms suddenly multiplied near our village. We suffered first, and they took advantage, claiming to hunt witches while targeting our villagers.” Kreel gently touched the little girl’s cheek and whispered, “Her parents were killed by dogs. There aren’t many survivors left in our village either.” He laughed bitterly. “But we won’t survive for long either… Those invaded by the spores have no future.”

The little girl listened, feeling somewhat confused, as she sucked on her fingers and stared at the food on the table. Kreel patted her head and urged her to take some. She carefully opened the bag and broke off a piece to share with her little brother. Then she took a small piece of the cake for herself and began nibbling slowly.

“Does the bone powder affect fully grown mushrooms?” Zhuang Lao asked.

“It does,” Kreel replied. “When they come into contact with it, they die instantly. But if you’re planning to go, I have to warn you that the poisonous mushroom inside the cave is alive and not easy to deal with. Several adventurers entered before and never returned.”

Mr. Li licked his lips and said, “Sounds delicious, mushrooms with meat… Shall we go take a look?” 

“Sure,” Zhuang Lao agreed. He turned to Lin Yan and said, “You and Xiao He stay here. The situation inside is unclear. I’m afraid there may be spores in the air.” After all, Lin Zhaohe was just a cute little dog at the moment. Zhuang Lao didn’t want to see mushrooms growing on top of his dog’s head if he accidentally inhaled the spores.

Lin Yan nodded in agreement.

“Where is the cave?” Mr. Li asked. “Lead the way.”

Kreel replied, “Sure, but you’ll have to give us another bag of food.”

Mr. Li generously tossed out another bag. Kreel’s response actually relieved him because, in his memory, Kreel was always stingy and reluctant to provide extra help, not even willing to spare an extra bandage for the wounded. Unexpectedly, now he was supporting the entire village.

Before leaving, Kreel advised Lin Yan to be cautious. The people from the neighboring village could come out at any moment for a raid. He told him to stay inside and not to come out to avoid getting caught.

Lin Yan agreed to everything. He had confidence in protecting the people in this house.

Zhuang Lao and Mr. Lin followed Kreel as they walked. Lin Zhaohe sat on Lin Yan’s lap, watching the little girl eat. She looked very hungry, devouring her food, but she hardly made a dent in the cake in her hand. It was unclear whether she couldn’t bring herself to eat it or didn’t want to finish it.

Lin Yan felt a pang of sadness and pulled out some candies, offering them to the children while asking about their daily lives.

The girl’s answers were unclear, but Lin Yan displayed great patience, gently coaxing them as if he were a kindergarten teacher. He showed no signs of impatience. Lin Zhaohe, on the other hand, wasn’t particularly interested in the children and hopped over to the bedside to examine the injured person. After observing for a while, he noticed that the person’s clothing seemed unusual, not like those worn by villagers. They looked more like an adventurer who had come down from above.

Perhaps they were injured during their adventure and were found by a doctor. Considering the dense mushrooms surrounding them, it was uncertain if they would survive. Lin Zhaohe was lost in thought when suddenly Lin Yan stood up with a hushed voice. “Someone is coming!”

Lin Zhaohe, upon hearing this, rushed to the window and leaned over, tiptoeing to get a better look outside.

“It’s probably the person who was chasing the children earlier,” Lin Yan’s expression grew serious. “There are many people coming, around a dozen or so. Hide yourselves, I’ll go out and take a look.”

Lin Zhaohe became anxious, but being just a little dog, there was little he could do in such a situation. He could only run circles around Lin Yan’s feet, insisting that he wanted to go too. After all, his teeth were quite sharp. He could bite that bad person and draw blood.

Lin Yan looked at Lin Zhaohe, baring his teeth and assuming an aggressive stance, and he finally understood his intentions but couldn’t help but laugh and cry at the same time. “You’re too small, going out won’t be of any help.”

Lin Zhaohe: “Don’t force me to transform and use a big banana against you.”

Lin Yan still didn’t understand, but seeing Lin Zhaohe’s determination, he reluctantly tucked him inside his hoodie, leaving only his head sticking out from the neck. It was a makeshift way of taking him along.

“Little Sister, don’t come out,” Lin Yan said. “We’ll be back soon.”

The girl held onto her pastry, nodding absentmindedly.

The group of people had begun searching each room. The large dogs they brought along had multiplied from one to three, their massive forms towering over the surroundings. Their sharp teeth glistened with saliva, while their black noses sniffed intermittently, tracking the scent of their prey. In stark contrast, the little dog named Lin Zhaohe inside Lin Yan’s hoodie stood out. Lin Yan felt that if Lin Zhaohe were to fight them, the only way to harm them would be to choke them with his own body.

Lin Zhaohe and Lin Yan stood on the rooftop, watching as the search party slowly made their way towards them from the village entrance. However, Lin Zhaohe found it somewhat odd. Considering the number and speed of these people, capturing the family of Kreel seemed like an easy task. Additionally, with the immobilized patients in the clinic, surviving seemed like nothing short of a miracle. Could they have some special method? 

Lin Yan also furrowed his brow, wondering if he and Lin Zhaohe had arrived at the same conclusion. After a moment of contemplation, without waiting for the search party to reach the clinic, he flew directly in front of them.

A stranger descending from the sky instantly put the dozen villagers on high alert, their guns pointed at Lin Yan. The aggressive dogs barked incessantly, ready to pounce at any moment.

“Don’t move any further,” Lin Yan warned. “I don’t want to fight against you.”

The leader of the group rattled off a string of words, but the language barrier hindered full understanding. Lin Zhaohe could only grasp a few words, likely something about danger and walking. They halted their steps and gestured towards Lin Yan.

Helplessly, Lin Yan still couldn’t comprehend and shook his head. “I don’t understand what you’re saying.”

The language barrier intensified, and the atmosphere grew increasingly tense. The group of people had wrapped themselves tightly, with only their eyes visible. It was impossible to decipher their intentions from their expressions.

“Go away!” Lin Yan shouted loudly, gesturing to drive them off. “Don’t come any closer!”

Witnessing his actions, the people in front instantly displayed nervousness. They swiftly loaded their handguns, as if the bullets were ready to be unleashed at any moment.

Lin Zhaohe wanted to persuade them, but from behind came the voice of the girl, “Big Brother… run quickly… Big Brother…” She had somehow emerged from the house unnoticed. Confronted with the sight of Lin Yan and a dozen gun barrels before them, this horrifying scene seemed to trigger something in her memory. Her emotions spiraled out of control, and she cried out, urging Lin Yan to flee.

Lin Yan hadn’t anticipated that she would come out on her own. Anxiously, he said, “I’m fine, go back!!”

However, it was already too late for the warning. With several loud bangs, accompanied by the sound of gunfire, bullets whizzed through the air. Lin Yan swiftly evaded them and turned to protect the girl. He intended to lift her and get her away from there. But the girl suddenly let out a scream, “Ah!!!”

Lin Yan froze for a moment, then looked down. He was horrified to see a monstrous hole in the girl’s chest. The bullet from the handgun had pierced through her delicate body, leaving behind a grotesque wound.

Lin Yan’s eyes welled up with tears instantly. “Don’t die!!” He wanted to say more, but he felt a sharp pain in his arm. Looking down, he saw Lin Zhaohe, his expression filled with immense anxiety, biting down on his arm. Before Lin Yan could comprehend why Lin Zhaohe would do such a thing, another gunshot rang out. This time, ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴜʟʟᴇᴛ ꜱᴛʀᴜᴄᴋ ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪᴛᴛʟᴇ ɢɪʀʟ’ꜱ ʜᴇᴀᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴘʀᴇᴄɪꜱɪᴏɴ. ʜᴇʀ ꜱᴍᴀʟʟ ʜᴇᴀᴅ ᴇxᴘʟᴏᴅᴇᴅ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴀ ʙᴀʟʟᴏᴏɴ right in front of Lin Yan’s eyes. His pupils contracted, and his body almost froze in place as he roared, “No!!!”

Anger and terror lasted for just a fleeting moment. Soon, Lin Yan realized that something was amiss. There was not a single drop of blood flowing from the girl’s blown-off head. Instead, something resembling fungal threads burst out from her body. Her body even contorted, completely departing from the realm of humanity.

The group of tightly wrapped individuals, numbering around a dozen, converged toward Lin Yan. Instead of attacking him, they began sprinkling white powder on him. They chattered away, speaking a lot more calmly this time. Lin Yan managed to grasp their meaning to some extent. Surprisingly, these people were expressing concern for him, inquiring if he was injured or feeling unwell.

Lin Yan asked, dazedly, “Who are you people?”

One of the individuals sent a young person to communicate with Lin Yan. Through gestures and drawings, they conveyed that these entities were not human. They were humanoid fungi, their original hosts long deceased. They were merely imitating human behavior. They warned Lin Yan not to be fooled.

Lin Zhaohe realized the gravity of the situation. Oh no!! Zhuang Lao and Mr. Li were taken to that cave by Kreel! If Kreel is also not human, then the intentions behind leading those two there can be easily imagined!!

Lin Yan evidently also grasped the situation and hastily asked, “Where is the cave in the village? What will happen if we go there?”

Upon hearing the term “cave,” everyone present displayed a shrunken and fearful expression. The young person struggled to explain to Lin Yan that the source of the disaster resided within that cave. They had sent many people there, but none had returned. If Lin Yan’s friends were deceived by the fungal beings and taken there, their chances of survival were grim. Sympathy shone through the young person’s expression, clearly indicating their belief that Zhuang Lao and Mr. Li were doomed.

Lin Yan still had traces of the fungal threads scattered on his face and body. “Lin Zhaohe, we must go and help them.”

Lin Zhaohe nodded in agreement.

“But you cannot go,” Lin Yan said. “If something happens to you, Zhuang Lao will kill me.”

Lin Zhaohe stared wide-eyed and questioned why he couldn’t go. After all, he was a magical little dog. In a real fight, it was uncertain who would win or lose.

With one person and one dog, they couldn’t reach a consensus for the moment. They could only stare at each other, hoping the other side would compromise.

However, Lin Zhaohe was a stubborn person. Lin Yan was forced to step back. “Fine, I won’t go either. Let’s go and see the situation where they’re staying first, then decide what to do.”

Lin Zhaohe reluctantly agreed, not pleased with the decision. But upon further consideration, he realized that if even Zhuang Lao and Mr. Li couldn’t handle the situation, he and Lin Yan might only add more trouble by going. So, he reluctantly swallowed his frustration and accepted Lin Yan’s proposal.

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